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The Fig Tree Analogy

Cloie Hummel | Writer 

In addition to the transition from high school to college, there's the transition from being a teenager to being an adult. One starts to realize that there’s a million opportunities waiting to be chosen. It almost feels like too much. When I think about my future, I refer to the fig tree analogy in Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. I’ve found that there’s many people who can relate to it. 

“I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.” - Sylvia Plath 

My interpretation of this quote is that with all the possible opportunities that life provides us with, the only right answer is to pick a fig. We forget that in picking one fig, our tree will change, but that doesn’t mean we cannot pick another fig from our first choice. Our opportunities will change and so will we, but it’s the fact that we have been gifted these figs and more fruit will grow just as we grow too. If you’re scared about making the wrong choice, the only wrong choice is not picking a fruit at all.


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